WMU News

Faculty of color at predominately white universities

Oct. 15, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- An expert in instructional communication will speak about how faculty of color function within predominately white universities during a Wednesday, Oct. 23, address that is part of the Western Michigan University Visiting Scholars and Artists Program.

Dr. Katherine Grace Hendrix, associate professor of communication at the University of Memphis, will discuss, "Healing the Wounded Spirit: Acknowledging the Experiences of African-American Professors and Graduate Teaching Assistants at Predominately White Universities," at noon in Room 210 of the Bernhard Center.

"Her talk will be an excellent opportunity for people at WMU to listen to someone who has studied how to recruit and retain people of color at institutions of higher education," says Dr. Steven C. Rhodes, chairperson of the Department of Communication. At most campuses across the country, African-American professors typically make up less than 5 percent of the faculty.

Hendrix has a particular interest in the challenges faced by these professors and graduate teaching assistants once they arrive on campus. Her presentation will include information from interviews and personal narratives to address perceived acceptance, credibility-building communication strategies and coping strategies used among faculty members of color.

The Visiting Scholars and Artists Program at WMU was established in 1960 and has supported more than 500 visits by scholars and artists representing some 65 academic disciplines. The chairperson of the committee that oversees the program is Dr. Carol Bennett, instructor in the Department of Business Information Systems.

Media contact: Matt Gerard, 269 387-8400, matthew.gerard@wmich.edu

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